MAIN FEATURE – 30th Anniversary

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MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 18!

As we at Adventures Abroad look forward to 2017, our 31st year of operation, we continue to pride ourselves on our adaptability and the high value we place on the feedback provided by our very special family of travellers. When we launched in 1987, from a home basement office and a 1×1 inch newspaper ad for a tour of Egypt, the concept of small group adventure travel was fresh and exciting. Gone were the days when your only group touring option involved 45 people on a bus touring ten countries in ten days—the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation was demanding something more personal, intimate, interactive, experiential, and environmentally sustainable.

It rapidly became a competitive marketplace as everyone jumped on the ‘adventure’ travel bandwagon. There were plenty of roadblocks—political unrest, terrorism, new infectious diseases, economic uncertainty—but the one thing that ensured our ongoing viability in an ever-changing world, was our intrepid clients and our ability to listen to adapt to their needs and wants.

Today, ‘small group’ travel is here to stay, and our commitment to providing meaningful, interactive, culturally and environmentally sensitive travel experiences is as strong as ever. For 2017 and beyond, we continue to respond to our travellers and the travel market environment—as part of this ongoing commitment, we are pleased to announce that from 2017 onward, our groups will be limited to a maximum of 18 participants.

All the more reason to book your next adventure as early as possible!

To mark our 30th anniversary, all tours that include Egypt have been discounted! Click here for the full listed of discounted tours, and watch this space for more anniversary specials and events throughout 2017.

Tour Leader News

Peter Barathan in Georgia (tour AZ1)

Peter Barathan in Georgia (tour AZ1)

During their Christmas / New Year hiatus, our Tour Leaders had some downtime to consider a series of prying questions about their personal proclivities. In this issue, we feature three of our leaders, simply the best in the business!

PETER BARATHAN

  1. What can’t you travel without?
    I hate to say it but I can’t travel without my phone. It’s my compass, my camera, my alarm clock, my book, my wallet, my pen and my paper, and anything else I want it to be. Still trying to figure out how to make it my cocktail.
  2. Favourite beach?
    Pre-tsunami, I’d say Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, but it hasn’t been the same since, so I’ll say the beaches of Palawan, Philippines, specifically El Nido beach.
  3. Favourite secret getaway?
    Tsoi-Lik Island, Papua New Guinea, a true island paradise.
  4. Favourite food item or cuisine?
    Favourite cuisine is easily Malaysian/Singaporean food: Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Paper Dosa, Char Kway Teow, Satay and Roti Prata. YUM!
  5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most?
    Without sounding too sappy, I’d have to say my future wife (I might get in trouble if I didn’t).
  6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea?
    Although I’ve never been, I haven’t tasted anything better than the wild beans from Ethiopia, and yes, I had Luwak coffee in Indonesia.
  7. Best sunset?
    I’ve yet to see the sun create a more beautiful setting than Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Bagan, Myanmar.
  8. Favourite city or town?
    Impossible to pick just one, but right up there would be Florence, Italy and Cape Town, South Africa.
  9. Where do you want to get next?
    I would love to tour the ancient sites of Israel.
  10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
    I haven’t received bad advice first hand, but the worst I’ve ever heard is: don’t go to South Africa, you’ll get ebola.
  11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
    Longest I’ve been away from home is probably about one and a half years.

 

PAM SCHEWE

  1. What can’t you travel without?
    My headlamp. Helps with finding your way in your dark and works so well for reading your guide books in bed.
  2. Favourite beach?
    Too many to name just one but those on Fraser Island, Australia and on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands are right up there.
  3. Favourite secret getaway?
    Albert’s Place on the Fijian Island of Kandavu.
  4. Favourite food item or cuisine?
    Mango sticky rice for dessert!
  5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most?
    My favourite people.
  6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea?
    Southern Vietnamese coffee is the BEST.
  7. Best sunset?
    Near Darwin in Northern Australian—I’ve never seen a sky that colour of purple ever since.
  8. Favourite city or town?
    Hoi An, Vietnam
  9. Where do you want to get next?
    The Maldives and/or Madagascar
  10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
    “Trust me!”
  11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
    16 months through Australia, New Zealand and Fiji
  12. Fan or air conditioning?
    That depends. Is it a hand held fan being waved by a handsome young man??
  13. Window or aisle seat?
    Window. I love being able to look out the window and be reminded I’m in a chair… in the sky!
  14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving?
    Definitely dolphins
  15. Last tour led?
    South East Asia—Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia
  16. Next destination?
    Malaysia and Indonesia

 

ANDRES FERNANDES

  1. What can’t you travel without?
    An alarm clock
  2. Favourite beach?
    Manuel Antonio
  3. Favourite secret getaway?
    I’m good KEEPING secrets
  4. Favourite food item or cuisine?
    Italian or Mediterranean
  5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most?
    Do cats count?
  6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea?
    Please don’t say Colombia
  7. Best sunset?
    Cape Sounion [Greece] forever
  8. Favourite city or town?
    I like to keep my mind open to new discoveries
  9. Where do you want to get next?
    Italy and/or Greece
  10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
    Can’t remember
  11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
    7 weeks
  12. Fan or air conditioning?
    I’d have to say AC
  13. Window or aisle seat?
    Aisle seat
  14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving?
    Diving, anytime!
  15. Last tour led?
    With AA Morocco
  16. Next destination?
    San Salvador

WHAT A SITE! The Nubian Pyramids

Famous Meroe pyramids

The Nubian pyramids were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms in what is present-day northern Sudan. The Kushites built these pyramids some 800 years after the pyramids of Ancient Egypt were built. They are thought to have similar workmanship of the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, but on a much smaller scale. The area of the Nile valley known as Nubia, was home to three Kushite kingdoms during antiquity. Approximately 255 pyramids were eventually constructed at three sites over a period of a few hundred years to serve as tombs for the kings and queens of Napata and Meroë. The most extensive Nubian pyramid site is at Meroë, which is located between the fifth and sixth cataracts of the Nile, approximately 100 kilometres north of Khartoum. During the Meroitic period, over forty queens and kings were buried there. Visit this and other spectacular sites on our new tour.

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
VRSD | 17 Days| Details
Departure date: 03 Nov 2016 – ONE SPOT LEFT (MALE WILLING TO SHARE)

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
SD1 | 17 Days| Details
Departure date: 26 Jan 2017

Source: Wikipedia

New Things!

iStock_000037378822_Large_Angel Falls

THE ‘WILD COAST’ OF SOUTH AMERICA – NEW TOUR

This is yet another unique and intriguing itinerary from the desk of legendary senior Tour Leader and destination specialist, Martin Charlton, who designed and will lead this tour in fall 2016:

“Join me on this exciting trip on which we explore Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Venezuela and the Caribbean island of Curaçao. From the astonishing Kaieteur Falls in Guyana to the breathtaking Angel Falls in Venezuela, we’ll open the door to the least-visited corner of South America and the Caribbean. The three countries that make up ‘The Guianas’: Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana are all quite different from each other, as well as the other countries of South America. Few travellers venture here into the northeast corner of South America, but, those who are willing to leave the tourist circuit far behind in search of genuine, personal, eye-popping adventure are amply rewarded! Curacao, with it’s rich history dating back to the 16th century, is home to the UNESCO protected Willemstad boasting fascinating old buildings and excellent museums. Here remnants of plantations dot the countryside. Venezuela provides the ultimate Angel Falls Adventure: Experience the natural beauty of the world’s highest waterfall. Join me on this one-time only offering!”

The Wild Coast of South America
MCGV | 18 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Nov 2016 - Limited to only 16 travellers

 

SUDAN, DJIBOUTI & ETHIOPIA – NEW 2017 DATE

Our November 2016 booked up so quickly that we have secured space for an additional date of this unique and fascinating foray well off the beaten path in this up-and-coming region that features the pyramids of Nubia, the otherworldly landscapes of Djibouti and the intrigue of eastern Ethiopia.

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Jan 2017 - Led by Jonathan Hodgson


ICELAND – NEW DATE

With the spectre of climate change and favourable general press reviews of the destination, we have had a huge upswing in interest in Iceland—our July/August 2016 date sold out long ago, so we have added an early September departure for this superb 12-day itinerary; 2017 booking now

Iceland
IC3 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 Sept 2016 - ALMOST GUARANTEED


CENTRAL AMERICA with Victor Romagnoli 2017

Senior Tour Leader, Victor Romagnoli’s comprehensive tour of Central America was such a hit in 2014 that he has decided to offer it again with a tweaked itinerary. This a big trip, with six countries over 33 highlight-packed days!

Central America
VRCA | 33 Days | Details
Departure date: 31 Jan 2017


SOUTHERN SPAIN & PORTUGAL – NEW TOUR

With a massive upswing of interest in both Southern Spain and Portugal, this one was obvious. Of course we’ve been touring both for years, but this new itinerary allow you to combine the south of Spain with our existing Portugal program without ‘forcing’ you to include the north.

Southern Spain & Portugal
PS6 | 15 Days| Details
Departure date: 15 Oct 2016
Departure date: 10 Mar 2017


MARCH DATES ADDED

After a very busy March, we’ve decided that we need more options / departures for March 2017. In addition to our new Spain / Portugal trip announced above, we now offer the following for the month of March 2017 onward:

The Yucatan & Belize
MB1 | 12 Days| Details
Departure date: 04 Mar 2017

Nicargua & El Salvador
NI2 | 13 Days| Details
Departure date: 12 Mar 2017

Colombia
CM1 | 11 Days| Details
Departure date: 14 Mar 2017

Classical Greece
GC2 | 9 Days| Details
Departure date: 15 Mar 2017

Australia & New Zealand
AU4 | 17 Days| Details
Departure date: 19 Mar 2017

India: Top to Bottom
I23 | 17 Days| Details
Departure date: 07 Mar 2017

Upcoming Tours

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ALBANIA – FALL 2016

We have enjoyed watching this enigmatic country open and grow during the last 20 years that we have been offering tours here. Infrastructure improvements and greater reliability of visitor services have made exploring this small but fascinating eastern European state, which was, for many years, closed to tourists, much easier and more comfortable than it was just two decades ago. We are also pleased to be one of the first operators to offer tours here, and are very excited about our numerous itineraries that combine Albania with neighbouring countries, including Macedonia, where we visit Ohrid—the “City of 365 churches”—an outstanding mixture of the Western and the Oriental. Albania/Macedonia can also be preceded by our hugely popular Adriatic tour (Slovenia & Croatia), which spends a night in Budva, Montenegro, en route to Tirana. Tours from 14 to 30 days; next trip fall 2016

Albania & Macedonia
AL1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 9 Oct 2016

Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & Macedonia
AD6 | 30 Days | Details
Departure date: 23 Sept 2016


IRELAND

We don’t have a lot of summer tours on our roster, but one of our all-time favourites is our 2-week circumnavigation of Ireland & Ulster (Northern Ireland). While not regarded as “exotic” as a lot of our other offerings, this is a surprisingly varied trip, with a richness in history and culture to rival anything on the continent, and a gorgeous, rugged landscape that truly shines like a emerald during the warm summer months. And believe it or not, Ireland also offers one of our best culinary experiences, with bountiful, fresh, locally-produced seafood, fruits, meats, and, of course, potatoes! Travelling in a small group means that we get to enjoy charming local restaurants and pubs instead of international hotel buffets. Guinness anyone?

Ireland
IE1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 July 2016


SOUTHERN AFRICA – SUMMER

Travellers in the Northern Hemisphere don’t always think about Africa as a summer destination, but we most certainly do, as this is a stunning time of year, especially in Southern Africa, which enjoys largely cool and dry weather and none of the northern crowds who tend to visit in the winter (Austral summer) months. It is also a perfect choice for our travellers who like to escape summer heat at home. These dates rarely sell out, and feature nice small groups of 10-15 travellers—if you’ve ever fancied an African adventure, consider visiting “off-season” and enjoy uncrowded sites and (usually) lower airfares. Your choices:

Southern Africa
SA2 | 18 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Jul 2016
Departure date: 02 Sept 2016

South Africa & Namibia
SA5 | 25 Days | Details
Departure date: 20 Jul 2016
Departure date: 06 Sept 2016

South Africa, Namibia & Victoria Falls
SA3 | 29 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Jul 2016
Departure date: 02 Sept 2016

Namibia
NA1 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 02 Aug 2016
Departure date: 19 Sept 2016

Namibia & Botswana
NA2 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 02 Aug 2016
Departure date: 19 Sept 2016


KENYA & TANZANIA – SUMMER

The northern summer coincides with the best time to witness one of the natural world’s most incredible spectacles—the annual wildebeest migration. The weather is dry and relatively cool, many animals are starting to give birth, and birds are especially abundant and busy. Staying in lodges and travelling in special vans with pop-up roofs, we’ll venture into some of East Africa’s greatest wildlife parks and reserves. Family groups in particular enjoy chances to meet the proud Samburu and Maasai peoples, see their homes and learn about their traditional ways of life. This is an excellent choice for your first safari and for those who prefer the comfort and amenities of hotels and lodges, as opposed to camping. We also offer an extension to the island of Zanzibar—beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs and the magic of historic Stone Town.

Kenya & Tanzania
KT4 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Jul 2016
Departure date: 15 Sept 2016

Kenya, Tanzania & Zanzibar
KT1 | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Jul 2016
Departure date: 15 Sept 2016

Kenya & Tanzania Family Safari
70A | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 Jul 2016

Kenya & Tanzania Family Safari with Zanzibar
71A | 16 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 Jul 2016


NORDIC ODYSSEYS

Since this trip was introduced in 2008, it has become one of our most popular regional European experiences. The first week of this 3-week sojourn (code BS3) takes us through the charming and diverse Baltic neighbours of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Hopping across the water to Helsinki, we begin the Scandinavian portion of our journey, with stops in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Our modes of travel are as varied as the region—private coach, train, and comfortable overnight ferry. A major highlight is travelling via Norway’s famous Flamsbana, the Flam Railway, one of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys. Have less time? This series can be broken up into shorter pieces—next departures June-Sept 2016:

The Baltic States
BS1 | 9 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Jun 2016 – ONE SPOT LEFT
Departure date: 04 Aug 2016
Departure date: 17 Sept 2016

The Baltics, Finland, Sweden & Norway
BS3 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Jun 2016 – ONE SPOT LEFT
Departure date:  02 Aug 2016
Departure date: 17 Sept 2016

Nordic Explorer
NK1 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 Aug 2016
Departure date: 23 Sept 2016


NORTHERN ITALY – AUTUMN 2016

This two-week cultural program highlights all the special sights, sounds, scents, and tastes that have made this magical place a must for even the most seasoned traveller. This is a highlight-packed though well-paced journey from Rome to Siena, Pisa, the Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice via Ravenna and Verona. Our special brand of group travel allows for a thorough and varied experience, with the greater flexibility afforded by our small group size. Dining out at local restaurants is a huge added bonus of our tours of Italy; try that with a group of 50! And, of course, our flexible module system presents a number of different tours and combinations to chose from, such as our newly-improved itinerary for Sicily and Southern Italy:

Rome to Florence
IT7 | 10 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 Sept 2016
Departure date: 10 Sept 2016 – LIMITED SPACE

Northern Italy
IT1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 Sept 2016
Departure date: 10 Sept 2016 – LIMITED SPACE

Northern & Southern Italy
IT2 | 24 Days | Details
Departure date: 31 Aug 2016

Italy & the Adriatic
AD9 | 30 Days | Details
Departure date:  10 Sept 2016


LADAKH—Hemis Festival 2016

Often called ‘Little Tibet’, this wonderfully remote and culturally distinct region in Northern India features breathtakingly situated ancient capitals, temples, and monasteries, and some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the world. This June, our 14-day trip (code I14) includes the many highlights of Leh and the colours and sounds of the annual Hemis Festival, where monks and laymen wearing spectacular costumes and masks perform elaborate traditional dances. A jeep excursion also takes us to the dizzying heights of the Khardung La Pass, at 5470 m / 18,400 feet, the highest drivable pass in the world. The tour continues McLeod Ganj, the home of the Dalai Lama in exile. This is a very special travel experience offered only twice a year

Ladakh
I14 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 19 Jun 2016 - GUARANTEED AND CLOSING SOON
Departure date: 08 Sep 2016


CHANNEL ISLES – SUMMER 2016

They’re not English, they’re not French, they’re kind of European, but kind of not… they’re the Channel Islands! Guernsey, Herm, Sark, Jersey and the Isle of Wight (not technically a Channel Isle, but since we’re in the neighbourhood…), feature on this new itinerary (IL3) of those tiny semi-autonomous and cultural distinct islands the lie between England and France. Our June trip led by Jonathan Hodgson is guaranteed and closing soon; only a couple more travellers will confirm our Aug/Sept date

The Channel Isles
IL3 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 14 Jun 2016
Departure date: 30 Aug 2016


ADRIATIC HIKING – CLOSING SOON

We have limited space on both of our two remaining 2016 departures on this perennially popular tour of Croatia & Montenegro, which features day hikes on well-worn paths and coastlines, and non-hiking travel / sightseeing days on a well-paced and highlight-packed 14-day program. This has become, by far, our most popular and well-received hiking tour—May will be closing soon and Sept is starting to fill.

Croatia & Montenegro Hike
XAD | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 May 2016 – 3 SPOTS LEFT
Departure date: 16 Sept 2016


ADRIATIC – SEPTEMBER FILLING FAST

Our non-hiking cultural tour of Slovenia & Croatia, which also pops into Bosnia and Herzegovina & Montenegro, is already half-subscribed for our one fall 2016 date. This comprehensive regional exploration continues to be one of our most popular offerings since it’s launch in 2001. Since then, infrastructure and services have improved greatly, and the cuisines and wines are some of the most interesting in the Mediterranean basin.

The Adriatic Tour
AD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 23 Sept 2016


JAPAN – AUTUMN 2016

With our spring Japan tours departing imminently, we turn our attention to another winning fall season for our Japan programs, even more popular this year than last. This is one of those tours that just sells itself, with many 2016 participants referred by travellers from previous years. Value, the comprehensive nature of the itinerary, knowledgeable Tour Leaders, and the mystical allure of Japan itself has made this a perennial favourite. Highlights: Tokyo, Kamakura, Osaka, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Kumamoto and more.

Japan
JP1 | 12 Days| Details
Departure date: 20 Oct 2016

Japan
JP2 | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 20 Oct 2016

Korea & Japan
KR2 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 12 Oct 2016

Korea & Japan
KR3 | 28 Days | Details
Departure date: 12 Oct 2016

Taiwan, Korea, Japan
TA6 | 35 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Oct 2016

Accommodation Spotlight – Algonquin Resort

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The Algonquin Resort is a coastal resort hotel in the Tudor Revival style, in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada. An architectural icon of New Brunswick, the hotel is the most famous symbol of St. Andrews and one of the most photographed buildings in the province. The original Algonquin hotel was a massive wooden Shingle Style building built in 1889 by the St. Andrews Land Company, established in 1883 by an American businessmen. Designed by a Boston architecture firm, it contained 80 guest rooms and opened in June of that year. By the late 19th century, the residents of St. Andrews and businessmen from Montreal and New England helped to develop the summer tourism that the hotel was creating among residents of humid inland cities of North America. The hotel’s guests have included heads of state and royalty, including Presidents of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson, HRH Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as Sir John A. Macdonald and virtually every Prime Minister of Canada since its Confederation.The hotel was sold in 2012 to New Castle Hotels and Resorts and Southwest Properties and in 2012 underwent renovation and restoration. In 2013 the resort was reopened as a property of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Our new Atlantic Canada tour (AP1) ends in St Andrew’s with a sumptuous stay at this iconic property.

Atlantic Canada
AP1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 22 Aug 2016Led by Serra Hughes

http://algonquinresort.com/

Focus On – Canada & Alaska!

iStock_000013925740_Large_Canadian Rockies

As a Canadian company, we are often asked why we don’t offer any tours here at home. Previously we were happy to concentrate on overseas destinations and leave Canada and the USA to the many companies that do a great job of hosting the world. But having recently partnered with one of Canada’s foremost inbound tour operators, we are delighted to be able to offer their expertise, experience and passion in line with the Adventures Abroad small group concept, with expert leadership, lots of inclusions, thoughtfully planned itineraries, at a great value. Made all the more salient with the recent drop of the Canadian dollar, we think that it is the perfect time for Canadians to experience an adventure at home, and for our US clients to take advantage of the best (or worst!) exchange rate in over a decade. For 2016, we are pleased to offer the following new adventures, with departures planned into 2017 and beyond.  


Churchill Polar Bears
AVPB | 8 Days | Details
Departure date: 14 Oct 2016

Canada’s new Museum of Human Rights; Assiniboine Park & Journey to Churchill exhibit; Enjoy the thrill of polar bear viewing on two full-day Tundra Buggy excursions; Explore the culture of Churchill by visiting historical museums and unique gift shops  


Ultimate Rockies
AVUR
| 12 DaysDetails
Departure date: 17 Aug 2016

Vancouver City Tour & Stanley Park; Mount Robson Visitor Centre; Jasper National Park & Tram; Maligne Canyon & Maligne Lake; Icefields Parkway; Columbia Icefields with Ice Explorer Ride; Lake Louise; Yoho National Park; Banff Gondola.  


Alaska, Yukon, Alberta & British Columbia
AVAY | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 28 Jun 2016

Alaska Highway; SS Klondike Sternwheeler; Five Finger Rapids & Carmacks Boardwalk; Diamond Tooth Gerties; Top of the World Highway; Sternwheeler Discovery cruise; Denali National Park; Tundra Wilderness Tours; Prince William Sound Cruise; Kluane National Park & Reserve; Mount Edziza Provincial Park; Mount Robson & Jasper National Park; Columbia Icefields & Ice Explorer ride; Lake Louise Banff National Park  


Atlantic Canada
AP1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 22 Aug 2016  - Led by Serra Hughes

Historic Halifax & South Shore heritage route; Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Green Gables; Cabot Trail–one of Canada’s grandest roads; Charming St John; Bay of Fundy–world’s largest tides; The remote and little-touristed Fundy Isles; Travelling as a small group in an area dominated by large bus tours!

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Why Greece is the Perfect Family Getaway

greece_new You’ve wanted to go to Greece your whole life. The allure of those idyllic Greek islands surrounded by endless crystal-clear turquoise waters. The abundance of marble ruins scattered across the land, each with a tale of a mythical legend or a philosophical genius that would forever shape our civilization. Or maybe you simply want to over-indulge in a Mediterranean diet with fresh fruit, fish, vegetables and seasoned with virgin olive oil to nourish your appetite.   But you’re not just taking a holiday for you anymore.  You’ve got children, and maybe grandchildren, and nothing is better than exploring the world with those you love. Instead of doing another family vacation to a resort or a theme park, you want to take them somewhere exciting, vibrant in culture, rich in history and with jaw dropping scenery that will create memories to last for the rest of your lives. You already know the reasons why you want to go to Greece, but here is why it is also your next perfect getaway for the entire family. Fun for all ages Depending on your age, if you well into your golden years and planning a retirement vacation,  just starting a family, an adrenaline seeking teenager or an inquisitive pre-teen, your idea of ‘fun’ might be different than the next member of your family. Greece has a way of making everyone feel young again as each destination creates a sense of excitement. Whether it is standing in the shadow of the Acropolis, climbing a 17th century Venetian fortress, testing out your vocal abilities in a 2500 year old theatre or wandering the pirate-proof alleys of an idyllic Greek Isle before finding one of the many beaches that makes Greece so dreamy. We craft each journey to make sure our excursions are varied and interesting. When we explore a museum in the morning, we do gentle walking tour in the afternoon. The next day goes in a completely different direction and lets imaginations run wild while visiting an historic castle or set of ancient ruins. The point is to keep each day fresh, with a focus on the best of what there is to offer but never let the trip hit a dull moment. Guided tours aim to be equally informative and interactive, so that no eyes get glazed over in the process of learning. We enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, because we all know kids benefit with freedom that comes with fresh air. Easily accessible and comfortable For family tours, one key component of ensuring a comfortable journey is in simple details like spending at minimum 2 nights in the same hotel. No unpacking means more time to explore and less fuss. Less fuss is always good when travelling as a family. Hotels are always well appointed, close to the action but in a quieter part of the city. With a tour, someone else always takes care of the details, leaving you time to relax. We always use the highest of quality in transport, whether that is a large hydrofoil or ferry or an air-conditioned motor vehicle or a taxi. When it comes to the travelling between sites, none of the distances we travel in Greece are too great, all of the routes are incredibly scenic, so you won’t have worry about who’ll be first to ask ‘are we there yet?’ Memories that will last a lifetime The most important part of a family vacation is to have fun in a meaningful way. As you travel Greece in a smaller group sizes, you’ll find it to be a more rewarding experience that you’ll remember for years to come. In the Greek culture, family is the strongest bonds one will have and from the moment you touch down in Athens, locals will make you feel like you’re apart of their family. Greeks give a hearty and warm welcome to all ages, and our destinations are low in crime so that everyone feels safe to exploreWhether you are a first time explorer or a seasoned traveller, Greece has the ability to leave a mark on its visitors. Your memories of long days of laughter will be set with a backdrop of Mykonos’ sugar-cube houses. Your sense of awe will be awoken in marble ruins fit for the gods and you’ll be telling intriguing stories for years that could rival the legends of Hercules. You’ve known forever that you’ve wanted to go to Greece; why not share your sense of adventure with the whole family?

vietnam2

Experiencing Vietnam’s Culture to the Fullest

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Vietnam is a country of contrasts. It is also a country that stimulates every single one of the senses. Fast-changing city skylines feel miles away from the breathtaking rural villages and timeless landscapes bursting with beauty.

The country’s pulse beats at a quick pace in the thriving metropolitan cities, complete with a never ending hum of moto­taxis and lingering scent of spicy street food stalls open from dawn until well after dusk. Just the opposite: the countryside encompasses an eternal pause that could define the word zen. Water­logged rice paddies stand still in the lines snaking through the valley floor between the karst mountains, as the sunset melts into a golden dream beyond the emerald green waters of Ha Long Bay.

Once a country so divided and overwhelming news stations with stories only of unimaginable horrors, the current Vietnam is a complete dream to travellers. Rich in both modern and ancient history, culinarily gifted, boasting surreal landscapes and a nation filled with determined people who are incredibly generous friendly and generous. For a first timer, a trip to Vietnam can be sensory overload, so how can one experience Vietnam’s culture to the fullest? Here are three easy steps that will ensure you experience it all: Seek out the new and the old With a human history dating back 25,000 years, to say Vietnam has a varied culture is an understatement. Throughout its years, Vietnam has been invaded or occupied by the Chinese, the Mongols, the Dutch, the French, the Americans, the Japanese, and the Chams, to name a view. While historically a nomadic people, the hill tribes of Vietnam vary greatly as well. Even in the smallest of villages one can find several different tribes, each with its own customs. While traditional stilt houses remain intact and in use for some tribes, most of the cultures of these people are beginning to transition into a modern era in which they are more interactive with outsiders. Perhaps the mix of historical influences is best discovered with architecture. Easily found are Japanese pagodas, Imperial “Forbidden City” characteristics fit for the Chinese emperors, Hindu temples, neo­classical lines of a French colonial opera houses or European style balconies and cafes to a distinctly Vietnamese mix of all. Less ancient history takes one to tunnels where the Vietnamese escaped during the brutal war bombings. Everything took place beneath the soil: living, dying, weddings, and births. For the visits good for the soul, one can seek an abundance of religions. Roman Catholic churches brought by the French, delicate temples dedicated to Hinduism created by the Chams and 20th-century icons of the eye used in humanistic religions popularized by the mass following of dispossessed peasants. With a small group tour, the sensory overload of new and old is easily broken down to understand and appreciate both the large and grand sites and the small unexpected ones. Eat everything Ask the most seasoned of Vietnam travellers what their favourite part of Vietnam is and the food experience will likely be at the top. From the fresh fruit and fish markets, the outdoor street vendors with plastic chairs and hot soup, to the upscale restaurants with million-dollar views to sip rice wine from or the small cafe serving French baguettes, ­ there are plenty of options to choose from. Try to indulge in the pho (soup) and taste the difference between the Chinese-influenced variety in the North, the spicier take in the South, and the more complex soups with more herbal infusions in the coastal areas. You’ll be hard pressed to escape without testing a seafood dish and the coffee lovers will relish a cup perfected after being brought over in the early 1800s during the French colonial era. With a tour, your taste buds will have a variety like never before and each meal planned to show you the best flavours to represent the country. Learn from a local It’s no secret that those who live in a place know it better than any outsider can. With a small-guided group tour of Vietnam, you’ll be taken on a journey to explore both the old and the new. Guided visits to museums, world heritage sites, cities, national parks, rural villages and more. This makes it one of our top destinations for seniors or those looking for a richer cultural experience. Meals will be in local establishments, not hotel buffets, and with a small group you’ll be able to move easily within the at times chaotic cities. You’ll always be able to hear the guide, the pace will always be mindful of rest time that allows you to have some independent time to explore and soak up all the first-hand knowledge you’ll learn along the way. Take a tour of all the highlights of Vietnam to best experience its culture. Every one of your senses will thank you.

Tour Leader News

DCIM100GOPRO During their Christmas / New Year hiatus, our Tour Leaders had some downtime to consider a series of prying questions about their personal proclivities. In this issue, we feature five of our leaders, simply the best in the business! Jonathan Hodgson 1. What can’t you travel without? camera, lenses & a good sense of humour 2. Favourite beach? anything quiet and isolated and preferably at night (my skin burns in 30 seconds) 3. Favourite secret getaway? that would be giving away the secret! 4. Favourite food item or cuisine? sashimi 5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most? family and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream 6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea? an Ethiopian coffee ceremony is my favourite experience 7. Best sunset? Santorini, Greece 8. Favourite city or town? hmmmmm. tough call. how about a top 50? 9. Where do you want to get next? Antarctica 10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received? “go on. the deep-fried tarantula is very tasty! try it!” 11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home? 2 years 12. Fan or air conditioning? fan 13. Window or aisle seat? aisle 14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving? um, dolphins, thanks 15. Last tour led? Australia & New Zealand AU1 | 17 Days | Details AU2 | 31 Days | Details NZ1 | 15 Days | Details 16. Next destination? Colombia! CM1 | 11 Days | Details CM5 | 20 Days | Details Chris Tripodi 1. What can’t you travel without? Passport, or coffee 2. Favourite beach? Maldives 3. Favourite secret getaway? Canada 4. Favourite food item or cuisine? Dinner. Sorry, I cannot be more specific 5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most? I haven’t had a home in almost a decade 6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea? Ethiopia for coffee. India for tea. Both more for the experience than necessarily the taste. That being said, both are delicious. 7. Best sunset? Earth 8. Favourite city or town? Poughkeepsie. But only because I like saying Poughkeepsie 9. Where do you want to get next? Iran 10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received? “Never talk to strangers” 11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home? 2 years less a day 12. Fan or air conditioning? Either is fine 13. Window or aisle seat? Either is fine 14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving? Either is fine 15. Last tour led? South Africa SA2 | 18 Days Details 16. Next destination? Colombia! CM1 | 11 Days | Details CM5 | 20 Days | Details Sama Mounib 1. What can’t you travel without? passport, everything else is replaceable 2. Favourite beach? Amorgos, Greece 3. Favourite secret getaway? to remain a secret it seems, even to me (yet to be discovered) 4. Favourite food item or cuisine? all foods, with the occasional burger or Italian dish 5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most? Mom’s cooking 6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea? UK, best tea 7. Best sunset? Santa Fe, New Mexico 8. Favourite city or town? Reykjavik 9. Where do you want to get next? Iceland & Greenland 10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received? don’t travel alone! 11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home? 2 months 12. Fan or air conditioning? fan 13. Window or aisle seat? window for short flights, aisle for long 14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving? Why not both?! 15. Last tour led? Malta ML1 | 6 Days | Details ML2 | 19 Days | Details 16. Next destination? unknown Rachel Kristensen 1. What can’t you travel without? My camera! All four of them… 2. favourite beach? when the tide is low in Ha Long Bay [Vietnam], each of those little islands create the perfect private beach to cast-a-way 3. Favourite secret getaway? Any mountain peak I climb to, best sunset views and no crowds 4. Favourite food item or cuisine? Mystery meat in China – with that special sauce. Doesn’t matter if I have no clue what is in it. 5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most? Not having my home in my luggage. 6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea? England, only if served with a scone and Devonshire cream. Or a cheap chai served in a plastic cup while a train in India. 7. Best sunset? Anywhere I’m warm enough to watch the sun set and the moon rise. 8. Favourite city or town? So many great cities in the world, but I do love my home of Vancouver most. 9. Where do you want to get next? Maybe a quick vacay to South East Asia or Iceland in Spring – cycling Vancouver to Alaska and back this summer. 10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received? “Don’t go there, it’s dangerous, people are mean, there is nothing to see” – from the person who has only watched the news. 11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home? 15 months 12. Fan or air conditioning? fan 13. Window or aisle seat? window = sleepy time 14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving? sharks please. but not in a cage. and not with teeth 15. Last tour led? Brazil, Argentina and Chile (aaaammaaazing tour) BR3 | 19 Days | Details BR4 | 27 Days | Details 16. Next destination? Back to Brazil, Argentina and Chile (yippppeee) Ondra Strejcek 1. What can’t you travel without? smart phone – Internet access, all my music, maps, dictionaries, books and info needed for the tour 2. Favourite beach?Palolem - Goa, India 3. Favourite secret getaway? music, mainly classical. listening with guilt that I should be studying 4. Favourite food item or cuisine? cuisine of Italy and Hungary – so much flavor, so multifarious, so GOOD! 5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most? yeah I know, I should say my family but it is good long night sleep in my own bed 6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea? Italian coffee 7. Best sunset? Udaipur, India 8. Favourite city or town? Roma – so vivid, so much stuff to see, so much history 9. Where do you want to get next? wherever, I do not mind at all. Each tour is different, always provides something new, unexpected 10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received? Itinerary – “no need to worry about it, all is set, there will be no problems at all, sit down and relax” 11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home? 7 months – studying abroad, 6 weeks – leading an East European tour (42 days, 52 cities and towns visited, 22 hotel rooms, 2 overnight trains… ) 12. Fan or air conditioning? both are a blessing 13. Window or aisle seat? always aisle 14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving? the nearest ocean is 2800 km away from my home and it is cold, very cold 15. Last tour led? Italy off-season - a great tour to lead IT20 | 12 Days | Details 16. Next destination? US high school group – Austria and Germany – I hope to get a chance to ski while in Innsbruck :)